Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 17, 2013
Study: Moderate alcohol consumption boosts body's immune system
Medical science has known for years that people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol actually have a reduced risk of death.

Feinstein Institute researchers show a genetic overlap in schizophrenia and cognitive ability
Investigators at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have discovered for the first time, direct evidence of a genetic overlap between schizophrenia and general cognitive ability.

Lower Rio Grande Basin study shows shortfall in future water supply
Reclamation released the Lower Rio Grande Basin Study that evaluated the impacts of climate change on water demand and supply imbalances along the Rio Grande from Fort Quitman, Tex., to the Gulf of Mexico.

Childhood bullying shown to increase likelihood of psychotic experiences in later life
New research has shown that being exposed to bullying during childhood will lead to an increased risk of psychotic experiences in adulthood, regardless of whether they are victims or perpetrators.

Smoking changes our genes
The fact that smoking means a considerable health risk is nowadays commonly accepted.

Social network spying could lead to low returns
Organizations looking to hire new staff should rethink their clandestine use of social networking websites, such as Facebook, to screen new recruits.

Sharpening the focus in quantum photolithography
Photolithography uses light beams to design thin geometric patterns on the substrates of semiconductors used in microelectronic devices.

Health R&D spending moves slowly upward, driven by industry, philanthropy and voluntary associations
After declining in FY10-11, health-related research and development spending in the US increased by $4.3 billion (3.5 percent) in FY11-12, according to Truth and Consequences: Health R&D Spending in the US (FY11-12), the 10th edition from Research!America highlighting estimates of US investments.

Massive stars mark out Milky Way's 'missing' arms
A 12-year study of massive stars has reaffirmed that our Galaxy has four spiral arms, following years of debate sparked by images taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope that only showed two arms.

World Health Organization study: Atrial fibrillation is a growing global health concern
Atrial fibrillation, long considered the most common condition leading to an irregular heartbeat, is a growing and serious global health problem, according to the first study ever to estimate the condition's worldwide prevalence, death rates and societal costs.

Epidemic of Escherichia coli infections traced to 1 strain of bacteria
In the past decade, a single strain of Escherichia coli, or E. coli, has become the main cause of bacterial infections in women and the elderly by invading the bladder and kidneys, according to a study published today in the American Society for Microbiology's open access journal mBio.

Duration of diabetes and advancing age independently predict diabetes complications, risk of death
The duration of diabetes and advancing age independently predict diabetes severity and risk of death in older adults with type 2 diabetes according to a study by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and the University of Chicago currently published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Nobel laureate credits Office of Naval Research for supporting basic research
As the 2013 Nobel laureates accepted their awards Dec. 10, one carried with him the shared vision and support of the Office of Naval Research, which sponsored his research when few in the scientific community embraced his computational theories.

Cells from the eye are inkjet printed for the first time
A group of researchers from the UK have used inkjet printing technology to successfully print cells taken from the eye for the very first time.

Injured nerves regrow when fidgetin enzyme is suppressed
To determine whether fidgetin prevents nerve regrowth in adult brain, researchers used a novel nanoparticle technology to block enzyme in injured nerves of adult rats.

NIH program bridges gap to develop new therapeutics
The National Institutes of Health today has launched three pre-clinical projects to advance potential new treatments for acute radiation syndrome, brain injury following cardiac arrest and a rare blood disorder called beta thalassemia.

Water in cells behaves in complex and intricate ways
In a sort of biological

New hope for stem cells, regenerative medicine emerges from the lab
Today, Dec. 17, JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments, has published a novel technique that could resolve a snag in stem cell research for application in regenerative medicine -- a strategy for reprogramming cells in vivo to act like stem cells that forgoes the risk of causing tumors.

New hypertension guidelines offer practical, clinical information for doctors and patients around the globe
High blood pressure affects approximately one billion people worldwide. Because of this epidemic, The American Society of Hypertension Inc. and the International Society of Hypertension announce the creation of first-of-their-kind guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of Hypertension:

Will stem cell therapy help cure spinal cord injury?
A systematic survey of the scientific literature shows that stem cell therapy can have a statistically significant impact on animal models of spinal cord injury, and points the way for future studies.

Targeted synthesis of natural products with light
Photoreactions are essential for the syntheses of many natural substances.

US researchers ponder modern day virgin births
At this time of year, many recount the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary.

Uranium (IV) found to be mobile in a natural wetland
EPFL researchers studying a natural wetland near a decommissioned uranium mine in Limousin, France, have shown that under certain circumstances the uranium present in the wetland could be more mobile than previously believed.

RS Puppis puts on a spectacular light show
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has observed the variable star RS Puppis over a period of five weeks, showing the star growing brighter and dimmer as it pulsates.

H1N1-triggered narcolepsy may stem from 'molecular mimicry,' Stanford study finds
In genetically susceptible people, narcolepsy can sometimes be triggered by a similarity between a region of a protein called hypocretin and a portion of a protein from the pandemic H1N1 virus, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Muscle-invasive and non-muscle invasive bladder cancers arise from different stem cells
A CU Cancer Center study published today in the journal Stem Cells shows that progenitor cells that create dangerous, muscle-invasive bladder cancer are different than the progenitor cells that create non-muscle invasive bladder cancer.

Elsevier announces the launch of open access journal: Sustainable Materials and Technologies
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and solutions, is pleased to announce the launch of open access journal: Sustainable Materials and Technologies.

Never forget a face
New algorithm uses subtle changes to make a face more memorable without changing a person's overall appearance.

Pfeiffer fire near Big Sur, Calif.
The MODIS or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured an image of smoke and detected the heat from the Pfeiffer Fire near Big Sur, Calif., on Dec.

Sunlight adaptation region of Neanderthal genome found in up to 65 percent of modern East Asian population
In a new article published in Molecular Biology and Evolution, authors Jin, et. al., present evidence for the accumulation of a Neanderthal DNA region found on chromosome 3 that contains 18 genes, with several related to UV-light adaptation, including the Hyal2 gene.

Changes in proteins may predict ALS progression
Measuring changes in certain proteins -- called biomarkers -- in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis may better predict the progression of the disease, according to scientists at Penn State College of Medicine.

Predicting antibiotic resistance among goals of UH research
Going back in time to compare evolutionary changes in several thousand generations of E. coli, a University of Houston biologist hopes to one day be able to isolate a bacterial pathogen and predict the likelihood it will become resistant to a particular antibiotic.

CHOC researchers identify technique to reduce childrens' post-op pain after high-risk surgery
Researchers at Children's Hospital of Orange County, one of the nation's 50 best children's hospitals, have identified a new technique that will significantly decrease pain for children following high-risk urology surgeries.

Nonsurgical treatment of periodontitis for persons with diabetes does not improve glycemic control
For persons with type 2 diabetes and chronic periodontitis, nonsurgical periodontal treatment did not result in improved glycemic control, according to a study appearing in the Dec.

Experts discover whether it's better to be right or be happy
Doctors see many couples who lead unnecessarily stressful lives by wanting to be right rather than happy.

Brain chemical ratios help predict developmental delays in preterm infants
Researchers have identified a potential biomarker for predicting whether a premature infant is at high risk for motor development problems, according to a new study.

Exposing the roots of the lithium battery problem
Berkeley Lab researchers have discovered that the dendrite problem that can cause lithium-ion batteries to short-circuit, overheat and possibly catch fire originates below the surface of the lithium electrode and not at the surface as has been widely believed.

Are we hard-wired to follow celebrity medical advice?
A paper published in the Christmas edition of The BMJ asks why so many people follow medical advice from celebrities when so much of it is ill-informed and some of it is potentially harmful.

Home-making post-disaster
When it comes time to rebuild, victims of home-destruction are often given only the bare essentials and told to make do.

Sporting success does affect birth rates
Births in a Catalan region of Spain increased by 16 percent nine months after FC Barcelona won three major football trophies in 2009, finds a study in the Christmas edition of The BMJ.

Study finds known lung cancer oncogenes ALK and ROS1 also drive colorectal cancer
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published online ahead of print in the journal Molecular Cancer Research shows that ALK and ROS1 gene rearrangements known to drive subsets of lung cancer are also present in some colorectal cancers.

Silencing synapses
Imagine kicking a cocaine addiction by simply popping a pill that alters the way your brain processes chemical addiction.

World's largest agricultural research partnership doubles funding to $1 billion in 5 years
CGIAR, the world's largest agriculture research partnership, today announced its funding has doubled from $500 million in 2008 to $1 billion in 2013.

Unique industry-academia networks in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy launched
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council has funded 13 unique collaborative 'Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy' to boost interaction between the academic research base and industry, promoting the translation of research into benefits for the UK.

Carsey Institute: Students with a disability more likely to be restrained, secluded in school
The restraint and seclusion of students in US public schools in response to student behavior problems are used much more frequently on students with a disability than on students without a disability, and especially in affluent school districts, according to new research at the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

UCLA study challenges long-held hypothesis that iron promotes atherosclerosis
A UCLA research team has found no evidence of an association between iron levels in the body and the risk of atherosclerosis.

Infrared sheds light on single protein complexes
Researchers from the nanoscience research center CIC nanoGUNE, the Freie Universität Berlin and Neaspec company employ nano-FTIR spectroscopy for label-free chemical and structural imaging of proteins with nanoscale spatial resolution and with sensitivity to single protein complexes of less than one attogram (10-18 gram).

Saving Fiji's coral reefs linked to forest conservation upstream
The health of coral reefs offshore depend on the protection of forests near the sea, according to a new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society that outlines the importance of terrestrial protected areas to coastal biodiversity.

Radioactivity muddles the alphabet of DNA
Curtin University researchers have shown natural radioactivity within DNA can alter chemical compounds, providing a new pathway for genetic mutation.

Hack the planet? Geoengineering research, ethics, governance explored
A special interdisciplinary issue of the journal Climatic Change includes the most detailed description yet of the proposed Oxford Principles to govern geoengineering research, and surveys the technical hurdles, ethics and regulatory issues related to deliberately manipulating the planet's climate.

American Chemical Society podcast: Detecting radioactive material in nuclear waste water
The latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast series features a new design for a highly sensitive device that can detect the radioactive materials uranium and plutonium in waste water.

DNA motor 'walks' along nanotube, transports tiny particle
Researchers have created a new type of molecular motor made of DNA and demonstrated its potential by using it to transport a nanoparticle along the length of a carbon nanotube.

Overspent this Christmas? Blame the ostrich problem!
Study by psychologists suggests that we're motivated to ignore our goals over the festive period and people intentionally bury their head in the sand and avoid information that can help them to monitor their progress.

Significant advance reported with genetically modified poplar trees
Forest geneticists have created genetically modified poplar trees that grow faster, have resistance to insect pests and are able to retain expression of the inserted genes for at least 14 years, a report in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research just announced.

Study assesses amount, patterns of sedentary behavior of older women
Among 7,000 older women who wore an accelerometer to measure their movement, about two-thirds of their waking time was spent in sedentary behavior, most of which occurred in periods of less than 30 minutes, according to a study appearing in the Dec.

Diet quality links old and young
Understanding how dietary habits are connected through the generations could have valuable benefits for community health, a new study shows.

A roly-poly pika gathers much moss
In some mountain ranges, Earth's warming climate is driving rabbit relatives known as pikas to higher elevations or wiping them out.

Researchers explain why some wound infections become chronic
Why does treating chronic wounds cost so much? What complicates chronic wound infections, making healing difficult?

TV ads nutritionally unhealthy for kids, study finds
The nutritional value of food and drinks advertised on children's television programs is worse than food shown in ads during general air time, according to a new study.

Drug residues detected in Swedish sewage water
Chemists at Umeå University in Sweden have been able to trace narcotics substances and prescription drugs in measurements of wastewater from 33 Swedish sewage treatment plants.

The future of staying cool
Scientists at the National Physical Laboratory and Imperial College are working to make the inefficient method of refrigeration and air conditioning -- which has been relied on for over a hundred years -- a thing of the past.

A new conceptual configuration for air-breathing hypersonic airplanes
How to design further hypersonic airplanes (flight velocity more than 6000km/h)?

EGF receptor ecto-domain mutations: When to screen and when not to screen
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is expressed in normal colonic cells and is activated by specific peptide growth factors that regulate cell proliferation, survival and differentiation.

Medical communication companies receive substantial support from drug and device companies
Eighteen medical communication companies (MCCs) received about $100 million from 13 pharmaceutical and one device company that released data in 2010, and all or most of the 18 MCCs were for profit, conducted continuing medical education programs, and tracked website behavior, with some 3rd party information sharing, according to a study appearing in the Dec.

Freezing semen doubles the chances of fatherhood for men after treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma
Men with Hodgkin lymphoma who want to become fathers after their cancer treatment have greatly increased chances of doing so if they have frozen and stored semen samples beforehand, according to research published online in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction.

Ancestor of snakes, lizards likely gave birth to live young
The ancestor of snakes and lizards likely gave birth to live young, rather than laid eggs, and over time species have switched back and forth in their preferred reproductive mode, according to research published in print in Ecology Letters Dec.

Supercomputers help ORNL researchers identify key molecular switch that controls cell behavior
If scientists can control cellular functions such as movement and development, they can cripple cells and pathogens that are causing disease in the body.

Social benefits of regret, ethics of gift giving in business, humor after a hurricane
As the year draws to an end, regret often comes to mind -- regret of trips not taken, goals not met, time lost.

New research on diverticular disease in the December issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
The December issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, fills a critical research gap in diverticulosis research.

AAOS approves AUC for non-arthroplasty treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Board of Directors recently approved an AUC to help physicians treat patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Eurofins and Orion Diagnostica Oy enter into an agreement on Orion's proprietary SIBA technology
Eurofins Medigenomix, a part of the Eurofins Genomics Business line of Eurofins Scientific and Orion Diagnostica Oy, an in vitro diagnostics company specialising in the development, production and sales of diagnostic test systems, announced that they have signed a co-exclusive technology license agreement.

New research: Economic impact of oil and natural gas in West Texas
Development of oil and natural gas in a 16-county region of West Texas added more than $14.5 billion in total economic impact during 2012, according to a study released by the Center for Community and Business Research in The University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Economic Development.

Non-specialist psychosocial interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders
Many children with intellectual disability or lower functioning autism spectrum disorders, particularly those in low and middle income countries, do not receive psychosocial treatment interventions for their condition.

New gene mutation will help better diagnosis of myopathy
A new gene mutation which will help doctors give a more accurate diagnosis of a particular type of brain and muscle disease in children has been discovered for the first time by University of Leeds experts.

New system of assessments needed when next generation science standards are implemented, report says
New types of assessments will be needed to measure student learning once the Next Generation Science Standards are implemented, says a new report from the National Research Council.

MRSA strain gained dominance with help from skin bacteria
Scientists believe they have an explanation for how the most common strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) rapidly rose to prominence.

BBSRC and MRC renew investment in structural biology software
BBSRC and the MRC have renewed funding of a world-leading suite of software that allows scientists to determine the 3D structure of molecules.

Radiation therapy to treat uterine cancer linked with increased risk of bladder cancer later in life
Radiation therapy used to treat uterine cancer may increase a patient's risk of developing bladder cancer.

Rainforest rodents risk their lives to eat
Hungry rodents that wake up early are much more likely to be eaten by ocelots than rodents getting plenty of food and shut-eye, according to new results from a study at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

Pain drugs used in prostate gland removal linked to cancer outcome, Mayo Clinic-led study finds
The methods used to anesthetize prostate cancer patients and control pain when their prostate glands are surgically removed for adenocarcinoma may affect their long-term cancer outcomes, a study led by Mayo Clinic has found.

Performance-enhancing drug use more prevalent than Type 1 diabetes or HIV infection
A new scientific statement issued today by the Endocrine Society represents a comprehensive evaluation of available information on the prevalence and medical consequences of the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).

Research progress on photochemical transformation of organic sunscreens in natural waters
Organic sunscreens released to natural waters potentially cause negative effects to aquatic organisms or humans after long-term exposure.

Hubble watches super star create holiday light show
This festive NASA Hubble Space Telescope image resembles a holiday wreath made of sparkling lights.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Prescribing an apple a day to all adults aged 50 and over would prevent or delay around 8,500 vascular deaths such as heart attacks and strokes every year in the UK -- similar to giving statins to everyone over 50 years who is not already taking them -- according to a study in the Christmas edition of The BMJ.

Important space weather instrument cleared for installation onto GOES-R spacecraft
The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R known as GOES-R Series Program completed its next instrument, SUVI or the Solar Ultra-Violet Imager, which is now ready for integration onto the GOES-R spacecraft.

Overworked cellular machines may explain Gaucher disease link to Parkinson's disease
Research with fruit fly model suggests that Gaucher disease (GD) is related to Parkinson's disease (PD) through biological pathways triggered by accumulated defective proteins related to GD.

Pitt-led network gets $70 million over 7 years to develop, test HIV prevention products
With funding of $70 million to support its effort into 2021, the Microbicide Trials Network will continue to develop and test products that aim to reduce the spread of HIV.

Discovery of 'teen gene' could hold promise for combating severe mental illnesses
Researchers at the Douglas Institute Research Centre, affiliated with McGill University, have isolated a gene, DCC, which is responsible for dopamine connectivity in the medial prefrontal cortex during adolescence.

Hippocampal volume loss in depression reflects glial loss
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and solutions, is pleased to announce the launch of open access journal: Sustainable Materials and Technologies.

NASA satellites get double coverage on newborn Tropical Cyclone Amara
System 93S strengthened into the third tropical depression of the Southern Indian Ocean cyclone season, which quickly became a tropical storm named Amara.

Research backs risk-reduction surgery for ovarian cancer
A study by Manchester scientists backs preventative surgery to improve survival for women who are at greater risk of getting ovarian cancer and suggests it appears helpful for women at risk of getting breast cancer because of genetic faults.

Much room for improvement in access to preventive dental care in the USA
The uptake rate of preventative dental care increased over a ten-year period in the United States, but there remains a large disparity among ethnic groups, reports one of the largest and most comprehensive studies on the subject, published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Public Health.

Meet the beetles -- the Xyleborini of New Guinea
A new book on the Xyleborini -- an invasive, incestuous, fungus-farming tribe of scolytine beetles -- is now available from the Entomological Society of America.

Controlling levels of reactive oxygen species breaks cycle of wounds that have refused to heal
Researchers have pinpointed the biological activities that are out-of-control in chronically infected wounds that will not heal and then determined potential treatment for these wounds, which can affect patients with type 2 diabetes as well as individuals who are paraplegic or quadriplegic and others with severely limited mobility.

The economically valuable sweet-gum trees: Taxonomy and 9 new combinations
Trees in the sweet-gum family Altingiaceae are well-known for their quality timber, use as ornamentals, the source of styrax, and from Chinese medicine.

Bonobos stay young longer
Contrary to humans and chimpanzees, bonobos retain elevated thyroid hormones well into adulthood.

Neurons subtract images and use the differences
Ten million bits -- that's the information volume transmitted every second with every quick eye movement from the eye to the cerebrum.

UT Dallas awarded $1 million to improve prosthetics for soldiers
Dr. Walter Voit of the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science has been awarded $1 million to create medical devices that will lead to greater control of prosthetics in wounded soldiers.

Self-worth boosts ability to overcome poverty
For people in poverty, remembering better times -- such as past success -- improves brain functioning by several IQ points and increases their willingness to seek help from crucial aid services, a new study finds.

Moffitt researchers discover mechanism controlling the development of myelodysplastic
Researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center have discovered a control mechanism that can trigger the development of myelodysplastic syndromes, a group of blood cancers.

Use biologic agents to induce remission in patients with moderately severe Crohn's disease
The anti-TNF-α biologic agents, such as infliximab or adalimumab, are recommended to induce remission in patients with moderately severe Crohn's disease , according to a new guideline from the American Gastroenterological Association.

Contrast agent linked with brain abnormalities on MRI
For the first time, researchers have confirmed an association between a common magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent and abnormalities on brain MRI, according to a new study.

Poor health of Irish immigrants in England may be linked to childhood abuse, study finds
Irish immigrants to England during most of the 20th century generally suffered from poor health, in contrast to the general pattern where immigrants are healthier than the native population.

MU researchers develop advanced 3-dimensional 'force microscope'
Researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a three-dimensional microscope that will yield unparalleled study of membrane proteins and how they interact on the cellular level. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to